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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Rensslaer

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What would motivate an author already updating 3 AARs on a reasonably regular schedule to post an AAR for a game which has been replaced by two sequels and therefore has been out of currency for about 7 years or more.... What would motivate that author to start a new AAR?

Well, I was judging AARs for Victoria 2 when I was reminded by one contestant how fun it was to play Argentina in any of the Paradox games. And, meanwhile, it was recalled to my attention that I played a rather remarkable game as Argentina in HOI 1, and never wrote an AAR for it, though I had long meant to.

All the screenshots are gone, to the best of my knowledge. If I pull out my old desktop and try to review things to be saved, I may find these screenshots and post them here later.

I also noted that it doesn't appear anybody posted an HOI 1 AAR for Argentina.

So here I go. It will be brief, and entirely from memory. But it should be fun! :)

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This was my first Paradox game. In fact, my first game of my first Paradox game, HOI 1. I played Argentina.

My intent, when I began this scenario in 1936, was to eventually ally with the Axis Powers, because they were most interested in conquest, as was I. So much so, in fact, that I decided I would not wait for the relatively long process of becoming part of an Alliance. I would begin to arm and to conquer very quickly -- a mode of operation not unknown to most Paradox players. ;)

My first target was Paraguay. I remember sending my cavalry into their mountains, and finding not very great resistance. However long it took, it was not long on a grand scale. I do not recall having to resort to multiple wars, as I believe it was possible in HOI 1 to annex an entire small country in one war. So I did. Argentina expanded to encompass Paraguay, and we stared over at the Brazillian soldiers and saluted them with Bronx cheers!

After scarcely long enough to reposition my troops, and to build a small naval vessel (a cruiser, perhaps? Surely not much more than), I declared war on my next target -- Uruguay.

Now, it is worth mentioning that Paradox games have evolved over the years. Improvements are made to existing products. Those improvements are transmitted on to new projects and sequels to old projects. I remember being a bit puzzled at talk of something called "Badboy" when I started playing Victoria 1, because there was nothing really on screen to indicate such things. I seem to recall that if you opened the "programming console" in Victoria 1 you could type a code and your "Badboy rating" would be revealed. This was foreign to me when I first began to play Victoria 1, and even more so when I first began to play Hearts of Iron 1, and so...

Uruguay was to be "toast." Uruguay was to be no more difficult to conquer than Paraguay. In fact, easier, because they had no mountains to shelter behind, no forests to cover in, probably even less of an army to defend themselves with. It was a natural progression for Argentina -- a country that would fit like a glove into the Argentinian empire without complicated borders. They had no allies. Let me say that again. They had no allies.

This was supposed to be another easy war. One which could be completed within a few weeks, or perhaps months at most. Who stood against us? Come on. We declared war.

More to come later....
 

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There were two building axes, of course -- the Axis and the Allies. The United States was minding its own business, and perhaps I was not giving the game enough credit -- maybe I was expecting typical AI from other games -- to take into account a growing threat such as I was posing.

The day after I declared war upon Uruguay, I recieved word that I had grossly offended the Allies -- the British and French -- and so now they decided they would declare war upon me in order to restore order against the aggressive rogue power in South America.

I panicked.

An immediate attempt to make amends -- to extend a peace offer -- was rebuffed.

So what to do?

Certainly, I considered quitting and restarting from the beginning with a more cautious foreign policy. I didn't. I'd see how far I could get.

There was nothing to be done for the war with the Allies, I supposed. It was probably mid-1937 by this point. War was scheduled in two years. Could I somehow hold out??

There was an immediate war I could do something about, and so I sent my armies into Uruguay. It seems to me that Uruguay was a one-province country (Paraguay, as I recall, was 2). The battle with the Uruguayan army commenced, and took a little while. I don't remember specifics. I don't believe I won right away, but I don't believe I lost right away.

The next thing I remember happening was a British fleet appeared off the coast of Uruguay. Now, at this point I had a small fleet. I'd started, I think, with a cruiser and a destroyer flotilla, then I'd built another cruiser, maybe. Such is what I remember, though maybe I'm off a bit. There were troops aboard the British fleet, and they appeared to be attempting to land.

This was bad. Knowing not what else to do, I sent my fleet in desperation. They couldn't possibly win, but maybe they would get a lucky hit. I didn't know exactly how naval combat would work, in practice. It was a gamble.

The naval battle, as you might expect, was lopsided. I did manage to inflict some damage upon the enemy, but naturally they inflicted more upon mine. I may have lost some ships, or I might have retreated after losing my organization. I seem to remember I lost the majority of my ships to sinking -- the end of my fleet.

And on shore things were not much better. I seem to remember I had won the battle against the Uruguayan army and had begun to take control of the province of Montevideo. But then came the British troops -- a regiment or two -- who pushed me out and forced me to retreat back into Argentina. I gathered reinforcements and attacked again.

Or perhaps it was that I won against the Uruguayan army, began to siege the city, and had successfully gained control of the city when the British forces landed and won a battle against me -- British against relatively untrained Argentinian troops. That was no contest.

However it was -- whatever the exact circumstances of the battle -- the timing was critical.

One thing had to happen at exactly one moment, followed by another thing at exactly another moment.....

Everything had to have been perfect, for what happened to have happened.....

The most bizarre circumstance anyone -- certainly not I -- could have imagined!
 

El Pip

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Good work, you have indeed been brief and fun. You can't stop now, after the tease of 'most bizarre circumstances' you've got to at least reveal what happened next.
 

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HOI was a fun game! My first introduction to the Paradox family also. I appreciate the nostalgia; I can envision the map and battle sequences in sepia tones....;)
 

unmerged(24320)

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Rensslaer: ...Everything had to have been perfect, for what happened to have happened.....
The most bizarre circumstance anyone -- certainly not I -- could have imagined!

methinks that you have been reading too much of Storey's work ! ! :rolleyes:

anyway, great start ! ! :D

looking for more ! !
:cool:
 

Lord E

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Good old Hoi1 deserves some new AARs and it is interesting to see that you have started one Renss. It seems like the game started pretty hard, and I fear for the future if the Allies start sending more troops into your lands, but it shall be interesting to read how it all turned out…
 

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Good work, you have indeed been brief and fun. You can't stop now, after the tease of 'most bizarre circumstances' you've got to at least reveal what happened next.
Thanks! I won't welcome you, as I would in other AARs, because I don't think this will be long enough for that to matter much. I'm glad to have ANYBODY reading -- I'm a little surprised to have feedback at all. :) Thanks for dropping by, El Pip, and for your compliment.

HOI was a fun game! My first introduction to the Paradox family also. I appreciate the nostalgia; I can envision the map and battle sequences in sepia tones....;)
Yeah, I've always said HOI 1 was the game I'd always intended to make on my own, but never had the capabilities to make. I had, in fact, tried creating various versions of grand level strategy games including one that I played with a friend on the wall of my college dorm (more on that down below). But when I found HOI 1 while browsing at a store -- it must have been a year old already, or six months anyway, since its release, I knew it was the game I'd always wanted. It did not disappoint. Subsequent iterations have made improvements, but the basic game was already there way back then, and I was psyched!

Rensslaer: ...Everything had to have been perfect, for what happened to have happened.....
The most bizarre circumstance anyone -- certainly not I -- could have imagined!

methinks that you have been reading too much of Storey's work ! ! :rolleyes:

anyway, great start ! ! :D

looking for more ! !
:cool:
Ha! You know I set my own standards for cliffhangers, back with Fire Warms! :D Great to see you, GhostWriter!

Good old Hoi1 deserves some new AARs and it is interesting to see that you have started one Renss. It seems like the game started pretty hard, and I fear for the future if the Allies start sending more troops into your lands, but it shall be interesting to read how it all turned out…
I agree, Lord E, HOI 1 may be old, but it doesn't deserve to be dead. I remember it fondly.

Yeah, I was kind of surprised at how difficult things got, real quickly! But like I said, I figured I'd fight it out and see where things took me.

Anyway, back to a memory Whisperingdeath reminded me of....

In college, me and my friend were both WW II buffs, and I came up with a project. I would buy ceiling tiles to mount on my wall to act as a sort of bulletin board. I hammered what must have been 6 x 2 x 6 = 72 nails into my dorm room wall (I had a single room) and snipped the heads off so I could mount the tiles onto those. On top of this went the USGS massive scale world map, with mylar sheets over the top of it so we could write with grease pens over the map. The whole setup was about 10 feet tall by 24 feet wide. Then I bought hundreds of pushpins in about 12 different colors and put hundreds of colored spots on top of each pushpin so that they represented the different armies of the world. USA was white on blue, Germany was red on gray, UK was white on red, Japan red on white, etc.

For the course of several months me and my friend played out our own alternative WW II scenario on this map on my dorm wall! It was so unusual that it became a tourist attraction! Girls, especially (don't ask me why -- maybe let's go see that nerd on the 10th floor like we're going to the circus!), would knock on my door at 8 or 9 at night to see this oddity! lol

We had alot of fun, but I was glad when I found HOI 1 would relieve me of all the massive bookkeeping responsiblities of a tabletop (or wall-mounted) game.

Update coming sometime tonight. Hopefully just after dinner.

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All right...

So now that I've had time to reflect upon what must have happened, I remember that in HOI you acquire a province immediately after either moving into it or winning a battle.

So here's what must have happened.

First off, I know my fleet was destroyed, and not simply damaged.

I finally won the battle against the Uruguayans, but I had been badly beat up. My army was weak -- I'm not sure exactly why.

It's also possible I'd defeated the Uruguayans and taken Montevideo, but then the British landed and pushed me out, and if so this would be the second battle I'm remembering, against British troops.

But however it was, my army finally won and pushed into the city. I controlled the province/city/capital of Montevideo, Uruguay.

But only, as I recall, for one hour. The British landed, and defeated my army easily, not only because my guys were beat up, but also because of the extreme technological disparity. There was no way I could win with a weakened force. I was forced out.

Before I lost control of the city, though, I moved my fleet out of Montevideo Harbor.

What fleet? I said already mine had been sunk, yes?

Well, as it turned out, when I captured the city of Montevideo, there was a British fleet sitting in harbor, having been damaged by my own attack upon them. They had taken shelter in order to repair, and when I took control of the city briefly, I had captured them!

I was QUITE surprised to find I had a fleet again, and even more perplexed when I realized they were British ships. Finally I figured out what must have happened, and I was stunned!

What's more, these were powerful ships. There were about 6 or 7 of them.

One of them was HMS Eagle!

Here I was, sudden owner of about two heavy cruisers, about 4 light cruisers, and a British aircraft carrier!!! What a turn of fate!

Now, after contemplating (while paused) my odd luck, I came to a determination.

I scuttled the HMS Eagle and probably one each of the CAs and CLs. I just disbanded them, and removed them from my fleet.

To my mind, I wanted a realistic game. HOI 1 was relatively good at this, but of course it's impossible to be accurate in everything (plus, if a patch existed, I had no idea where to find it -- I'd never patched a game in my life, always just played out of the box, partly because when I first got into computer gaming there really wasn't much of an Internet, and certainly no such thing as the Web, where you could find these patches).

I disbanded some of the fleet because I understood there was no way I could possibly capture that many good ships, especially not HMS Eagle. I think I even disbanded the least damaged ships, leaving myself only with the most damaged (which wasn't saying much -- all they'd gotten hit by was Argentine cruisers!).

But with the remainder...
 

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How moral of you to disband the heavy units. I'd say that is far more unexpected in an AAR than suddenly acquiring a British fleet (which is pretty strange in itself!)
 

unmerged(24320)

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Rensslaer: ...But however it was, my army finally won and pushed into the city. I controlled the province/city/capital of Montevideo, Uruguay. .. But only, as I recall, for one hour.

wasn't that one hour long enough to remove Uruguay from the game ? ? :D

Rensslaer:
...What fleet? I said already mine had been sunk, yes? .. a British fleet sitting in harbor .. I had captured them!

awesome ! ! :)

Rensslaer:
...I scuttled the HMS Eagle and probably one each of the CAs and CLs. I just disbanded them...

NOT something i would have done ! ! :rolleyes:

Rensslaer:
...To my mind, I wanted a realistic game.

excellent reason ! ! something that i usually lack... :wacko:

Rensslaer:
...(plus, if a patch existed, I had no idea where to find it -- ...).

i was fortunate, i knew to patch HOI 1 before beginning play...

Rensslaer:
...But with the remainder...

NOW, when i read this, the following came to my mind:

1. you sank the British transports, and drove off the balance of their fleet, which:

2. placed the British army in Montevideo, Uruguay OOPS, make that Montevideo, British South America [ ! ! . :eek: . :D ] out of supply ! !

magnificent update ! !
:cool:
 

unmerged(53911)

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I must agree that I would not (likely) have scuttled the captured fleet! I have a philosophy regarding game playing that avoids the attempt at historical accuracy. I believe that this is impossible and that most game designers understand this. They have to make games playable; and much like watching a movie, there has to be a "willful suspension of disbelief" element. As an example, in my earliest HOI 1 games I recall that paratroopers were wildly potent and relatively cheep to build. Until the patches came out, I used them in every game to great effect. I was "playing" the game; not recreating history. I do admit that after a short time this lost its luster and I was glad for the patch. Also, keep in mind that certain historical quirks have come true and unleashed great consequences on the world: I am thinking about Lenin's improbable return to Russia and what unfolded therefrom!:eek:

Loved your story about board-gaming in college. A true grognard! I was also a board gamer and remember playing Carrier War in a YMCA in Manhatten while at a debate tournament. I was sharing a room with a fellow gamer and we left the board set up while at the debates and pushed it under the bed to play when we returned at night. One night when we got back we found that a rat had crapped on the board! Priceless! :eek:
 

Rensslaer

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Of course, GhostWriter is astute enough to know exactly what happened after I took control of these damaged British ships. The British transports still lying offshore landed their troops, and their infantry captured Montevideo, forcing my new ships out to sea, and into an attack formation against the enemy transports, which now had no (or few) escorts to defend them!

Naturally, it was a quick battle. The enemy ships were sunk or fled, leaving the British infantry at Montevideo while we regrouped.

Now, British infantry was tough, but they were of limited size. My infantry and cavalry had all gathered, by this point (I suspect that in my impatience I had not waited for all of my units to arrive from Paraguay before invading Uruguay -- something which might have added to British consternation at the aggressive nature of the Argentine threat!), and I massed them against the defenders of Montevideo. The battle may have lasted a while, but the outcome for my isolated enemy was inevitable without reinforcements. I battered him down, and he had no ships to retreat to.

I had won.

Now... What now???

Over the course of the next several months, more British expeditions (and perhaps one a French) arrived off my shores, attempted landings, etc. But with the protection of my powerful new cruisers, fully repaired, and a newly bolstered land army, I was able to hold them off. They came in brigades of one or two, as the AI is likely to do against side theatres. So they never posed a serious threat to me.

In HOI 1, as in later versions, there was a system by which the tensions between Axis and Allies built. Those tensions were beginning to steam and smolder, and it was distracting Britain and France toward other quarters.

Given time to think, I made my plans....
 

unmerged(24320)

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Rensslaer: ...Given time to think, I made my plans....

so, did you obey the advice of Horace Greely, and "Go West, young man..." ? ? [to Chile] :rolleyes:

or, did you do as i would have, and gone North ! ! [to Brazil] :D

most excellent ! ! :cool:
 

Lord E

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Very nice to see that you managed to defeat the Allied forces and everything they sent against you. Shall be interesting to see what you can do once the war in Europe begins and the Allies really get occupied on other fronts. I am guessing there should be land open for conquest then...
 

Rensslaer

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A little feedback to feedback before I go on (which I will in a few minutes)...

To all you about the scuttling...

How moral of you to disband the heavy units. I'd say that is far more unexpected in an AAR than suddenly acquiring a British fleet (which is pretty strange in itself!)
Ha! :) Yeah, it was pretty strange. First one, then the other. But I really couldn't have felt good about winning because I captured the keys to London, or something. Capturing HMS Eagle was pretty close to that! lol

Loved your story about board-gaming in college. A true grognard! I was also a board gamer and remember playing Carrier War in a YMCA in Manhatten while at a debate tournament. I was sharing a room with a fellow gamer and we left the board set up while at the debates and pushed it under the bed to play when we returned at night. One night when we got back we found that a rat had crapped on the board! Priceless! :eek:
Good to know we share that in common! I owned Carrier War,but strangely never played it. I didn't know anyone to play with (I got it when I was 12 or 14), so if a game didn't play well in solitaire, it just didn't get played. As I recall, Carrier War used some sort of double-blind system to represent the educated guess factor in Coral Sea/Midway, etc. That didn't stop me from playing endless hours of Bismarck, though (as in the chase for the battleship). The computer game Carriers at War was much more helpful, playing against the AI (which was pretty good, I recall). In another thread, I related a story of how I played Third World War against a college friend -- it was the full set, four modules, spreading a conventional modern air/land war from Norway to Iran across 2/3 of his bedroom floor! :D

Rensslaer: ...Given time to think, I made my plans....

so, did you obey the advice of Horace Greely, and "Go West, young man..." ? ? [to Chile] :rolleyes:

or, did you do as i would have, and gone North ! ! [to Brazil] :D

most excellent ! ! :cool:
Always fun when I can surprise you, GhostWriter.... As I'm about to! :D

Very nice to see that you managed to defeat the Allied forces and everything they sent against you. Shall be interesting to see what you can do once the war in Europe begins and the Allies really get occupied on other fronts. I am guessing there should be land open for conquest then...
Well, there's a little bit of a gap between where we are right now, and when the war begins (in HOI 1, of course, it always started on schedule unless pushed... I think it did, anyway).

Thanks for reading, everybody! I appreciate your comments and your attention to an AAR so far off the beaten path!

Anybody else out there? Even long after this is finished, I'd be curious your thoughts.

Another update coming right up...

Rensslaer
 

Rensslaer

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So... As I mentioned in feedback, it was still only mid or late 1938 or so at the point I left you (having captured the British cruisers and turned back about 3 attempts to land -- 2 British and 1 French as I recall).

Fortunately, I had scrabbled like a madman to build up against what I expected to be a stronger eventual invasion, but it never seemed to come. When I finally finished building some more of my own cruisers, I started to feel more confident.

As GhostWriter mentioned, I of course had the option to continue my local conquests -- going after my planned invasions of Chile and/or Bolivia (Bolivia would have been next -- they lucked out!).

But my strategic-thinking mind started wondering what that would do to actually enhance my survival against Britain and France. Naturally, it would give me more economic base, which could be helpful on the long term...

But would it really keep the British off my back? I concluded no. Seems like I'd joined the Axis by this point, but they wouldn't retroactively declare war. Or maybe they refused to let me in. Don't remember for sure, but I know I didn't sense immediate help on the way.

I resolved upon a strategy very much like what you'll see in my HOI 3 AAR Imperio Novo (an Axis Portugal) -- maximum employment of existing resources for maximum gain against a superior enemy (WhisperingDeath, in the Imperio Novo thread, compared it to Schwerpunkt).

My first external conquest was Ascension Island. I wanted to rid them of the bases they were using against me, because there was (as I recall) a range component to how far ships could travel from home base.

From there, I used Ascension as a bridgepoint from which to attack South Africa. Now, if you were to attack South Africa in a patched HOI 3, you'd get killed, because there were certain rules about garrisons. But in the un-patched version of HOI 1 there were significant defending forces in South Africa, but not an overwhelming amount (they were part of the Commonwealth, and they hadn't fully mobilized yet, as Britain had not increased enough in their own mobilisation process).

South Africa was a fight! But eventually I subdued them. I don't recall if the British mounted any more operations against Argentina proper. I think I might have sufficiently distracted them through my other moves.
 

unmerged(53911)

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I do miss the wild west-like aspects of HOI 1! There was really a sense while playing it that anything was possible. The idea of Argentina schlepping troops across the southern Atlantic to invade and conquer South Africa! Amazing stuff! Way to keep the Brits off balance and lucky for you that they became "too busy" to deal with the "minor" power of Argentina.
 

unmerged(24320)

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Rensslaer: ...When I finally finished building some more of my own cruisers, I started to feel more confident.

do you recall the approximate size of your navy at that time ? ?

Rensslaer:
...But would it really keep the British off my back? I concluded no...

good choice ! ! :)

Rensslaer:
...I resolved upon a strategy very much like what you'll see in my HOI 3 AAR Imperio Novo ...

i can certainly vouch for each AAR you have - that i have read - and, i think that i have read all of them ! ! :D

Rensslaer:
...My first external conquest was Ascension Island...

again, good choice ! ! :)

Rensslaer:
... (thence) South Africa was a fight! .. I think I might have sufficiently distracted them through my other moves.

how close to September 1, 1939, was this ? ? (building cruisers and then capturing the Ascension Islands, then moving the fight to South Africa could have taken you to, or even past, the start of WW2: ) the UK having to fight the Germans, et al, could have covered your backside quite well ! ! ;)

that was a very nice surprise ! ! :D

awesome update ! !
:cool:
 

TheExecuter

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As far as I know, the AI has no limitations to naval range in HOI:1.

This is pretty cool. It is still the Paradox title I play the most.

Keep up the good work Renss...